Russell Blackstock

Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Triumph for NZ-made Everest film

Story of Sir Ed's ascent wins rave reviews from viewers and critics at top movie festival

Beyond the Edge
Beyond the Edge

A New Zealand-made 3D movie depicting Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mt Everest played to a packed audience at its world premiere in Canada on Friday.

Beyond the Edge, about the world-first feat by the Kiwi mountaineering legend and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953, made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival to positive reviews from fans and film critics.

The climbers' sons, Peter Hillary and Norbu Tenzing, were among those at the sold-out event.

Sir Edmund died in 2008 and Tenzing Norgay 12 years earlier.

Director Leanne Pooley, a Canadian now living in New Zealand, said the film was completed only two weeks ago.

She was delighted with its reception: "When the doors opened, there was a scrum to get in, which was exciting."

Pooley said expat Kiwis and the local Sherpa community turned out in force for the screening.

"It was great to see the Kiwis mingling with the Nepalese and Tibetans and it was a lovely occasion," she said.

"Peter Hillary was really pleased with the way we portrayed his father and his achievement. Norbu saw it for the first time and he was very, very happy with how his father's contribution was handled."

Nelson actor Chad Moffitt played the young Sir Edmund and Mt Cook resident Sonam Sherpa was Tenzing. The movie was filmed in the Southern Alps.

Beyond the Edge was financed by the Film Commission and NZ On Air's Platinum Fund.

It received a 3.5 out of 4 stars review from Canada's largest daily newspaper, the Toronto Star.

Beyond the Edge will have a New Zealand premier at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington on October 22.

- Herald on Sunday

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